Google owner Alphabet asked cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin for help after issuing a “code red” following the release of OpenAI’s writing tool, The New York Times reported.
The release of ChatGPT on November 30 has sparked internal concerns over the continued dominance of Google’s search engine. CEO Sundar Pichai held meetings about Google’s artificial intelligence strategy in December and the company reportedly issued a “code red” after the AI bot rapidly gained traction.
That prompted calls from Pichai to Page and Brin, more than three years after they stepped down from executive roles, The Times reported. The cofounders remain on the board of Alphabet.
According to the report, Page and Brin had “several” meetings with executives last month to strategize about Google’s AI, and approved plans to incorporate more chatbot features into its search engine.
Page and Brin had not really been closely involved with the company’s operations since 2019, an unnamed source told the newspaper, and only visited the Silicon Valley offices to check in on its “moonshot” projects.
Vic Gundotra, a former senior vice president at Google, told The Times the cofounders had always been keen on AI. Page was reportedly unimpressed with a new Gmail feature in 2008, saying: “Why can’t it automatically write that email for you.”
An Alphabet representative told The Times: “We continue to test our AI technology internally to make sure it’s helpful and safe, and we look forward to sharing more experiences externally soon.”
The company didn’t respond to a request for comment from Insider.
As Google grew increasingly concerned about the threat posed by ChatGPT, Insider’s Thomas Maxwell identified 12 powerful players working on the technology needed to fight back.
The chatbot, which amassed one million users in just five days, Insider reported, streamlines the search process. It can also take on complex tasks such as writing a children’s book, respond to Hinge matches, write cover letters, and even give career-coaching advice.
The frenzy around the chatbot sparked concerns over misinformation, too. AI experts told Insider that it is unable to fact-check itself and can’t distinguish between a verified fact and misinformation. Bloomberg reported it can also generate racist and sexist responses.
Google announced sweeping cuts to its workforce on Friday, eliminating 12,000 role. In an email to staff, Pichai said he was taking “full responsibility for the decisions that led us here.”
Source: Business Insider